Killing season is currently available on instant Netflix.
Killing Season (2013) – Rated R
“Tormented by memories of combat in the Bosnian War, American vet Benjamin Ford seeks peace of mind deep in the Appalachian Mountains. But when a Bosnian vet of the same war comes to settle a score, a new war erupts in the American wilderness.”
One Line Review: DeNiro and Travolta pontificate and fight, repeat until movie is over.
I think all that needs to be said of this film is the bit of trivia that Robert DeNiro took over his role from Nicolas Cage. Yes, Killing Season was going to be a reunion of sorts for the king of direct-to-video, Nicolas Cage and one of the few people who can overact even more, John Travolta. While they both had a grand old time in Face/Off, they have since fallen off the charts, delving into less reputable work.
John Travolta had a great leading man career with Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Urban Cowboy. His career petered out and then he had a resurgence with Look Who’s Talking. It petered out again and then he had a fantastic comeback with Pulp Fiction. This time he capitalized on it with great roles in Get Shorty, Broken Arrow, Phenomenon, and Michael.
Unfortunately along came the debacle that was Battlefield Earth. After that Travolta began a series of really bad roles (and performances) in such turkeys as Swordfish, Domestic Disturbance, and Basic. Even reviving his Get Shorty character, Chili Palmer, proved ill-advised. Killing Season got a theatrical release but only barely. I think John Travolta is headed the Nicolas Cage route.
Robert DeNiro’s career arc is even more disheartening. He is capable of giving the most fantastic performances but only under the right directors. DeNiro had humble beginnings as part of the Roger Corman machine.
He first showed signs of promise in Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets. Under Scorsese, he was nominated for Best Actor for Taxi Driver, won Best Actor for Raging Bull, and was nominated again for Cape Fear.
He won Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather, Part II (Francis Ford Coppola). He was nominated for Best Actor in The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino) and again for Awakenings (Penny Marshall). Most recently he was nominated for Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell). That all sounds great right?
Sadly he often phones his more recent performances. Godsend, Wag the Dog, Analyze That, Showtime, and especially Righteous Kill are things I’d like to think he was at least a little embarrassed by.
Yes I know I’ve blathered on endlessly about these two actors instead of talking about Killing Season. Honestly, there isn’t much to say about Killing Season. Travolta overacts as usual while working on a very interesting accent. DeNiro phones his performance in. Nuff said.
While there are other actors in the movie, 90% of Killing Season is just DeNiro and Travolta chatting, trying to kill each other, chatting some more, trying to kill each other, chatting still more. They constantly place each other in ‘unnecessarily slow dipping mechanisms’.
There is no sense of suspense here and we don’t actually care about the characters. They try to make the characters clever but they aren’t. Writer Evan Dougherty obviously thinks this is far more deep than it is. Still, Killing Season is a passable waste of two hours and the scenery, particularly of Tallulah Falls, is gorgeous.